The Collected Letters of Sir George and Lady Beaumont to the Wordsworth Family, 1803–1829

BookThe Collected Letters of Sir George and Lady Beaumont to the Wordsworth Family, 1803–1829

The Collected Letters of Sir George and Lady Beaumont to the Wordsworth Family, 1803–1829

with a Study of the Creative Exchange between Wordsworth and Beaumont

Romantic Reconfigurations: Studies in Literature and Culture 1780-1850, 14


April 1st, 2021



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Sir George Beaumont is a key figure in the history of British art. As well as being a respected amateur landscape painter, he was a prominent patron, a collector, and co-founder of the National Gallery. William Wordsworth described Beaumont’s friendship as one of the chief blessings of his life, and this edition reveals that the two men became collaborators as well as companions. In addition to documenting unique perspectives on social, political, and cultural events of the early nineteenth century (providing new contexts for reading Wordsworth’s mature poetry), the letters collected here chart the progress of an increasingly intimate inter-familial relationship. The picture that emerges is of a coterie that – in influence, creativity, and affection – rivals Wordsworth’s more famous exchange with Coleridge at Nether Stowey in the 1790s. The edition includes an extended study of how Wordsworth and Beaumont helped shape one another’s work, tracing processes of mutual artistic development that involved not only a meeting of aristocratic refinement and rural simplicity, of a socialite and a lover of retirement, of a painter and a poet, but also an aesthetic rapprochement between neoclassical and romantic values, between the impulse to idealize and the desire to particularize.

'Jessica Fay's edition of the letters of the Beaumonts to the Wordsworths now makes possible a two-way understanding of their personal relationship as well as a new perspective on the creative relationship Wordsworth and Beaumont experienced. [...] Beaumont has left us an abundance of epistolary evidence to assess his impact on Wordsworth. In the words of Magnuson, these letters let us hear both sides of their conversation.' Richard Matlak, Review 19

Author Information

Jessica Fay is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of English Literature at the University of Birmingham.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Illustrations23
List of Letters25
The Creative Exchange between Wordsworth and Beaumont29
The Letters85
Part I: 1803–180687
Part II: 1807–1813117
Part III: 1814–1818153
Part IV: 1819–1827181
Part V: 1827–1829217
Appendix I: Lady Beaumont’s Reading: Thomas Barnard’s ‘Account of an English Hermit’239
Appendix II: Paintings Hung at Coleorton Hall243